Shining a Light on Love

Anna is woman with a big heart and tender soul. When we met, she was grieving her mother’s recent passing and had asked me to act as the Celebrant for her mom’s upcoming Celebration of Life.

Shortly after her mother’s memorial ceremony, Anna sent me a thank-you letter. I appreciated her expression of gratitude but, even more than that, I was struck by her insight into what I do as a Celebrant. Her words made me think about my work in a new and meaningful way.

Here’s what Anna said:

“Marcia, I was just reflecting on the ceremony you created for my Mom. I realize that you and your colleagues also do weddings, and it just occurred to me that what you really do is shine a light on love.  You’re not only writing ceremonies – you’re writing love stories! Throughout the process of creating the ceremony – you are helping people think about what’s really important and worth celebrating. This is a pretty big deal!”

Ceremonies as love stories…I’d never thought about my work that way.

When I craft memorial and wedding ceremonies, the theme that guides me is “HONOURING.” I do my very best to honour people’s lives and their values. But, I’d never considered memorial services as LOVE STORIES in the way that Anna did. I was touched to learn that the process of creating a ceremony with me had helped Anna to get in touch with what was really important in in her mom’s life.

Anna closed her letter by saying:

“Thank you for being there for us. Your presence and your beautiful work made a big difference. It means a lot. Way more than you know.”

I printed Anna’s words onto a card and placed it on my desk to remind me of her insight. When I write ceremonies I still keep “honouring” foremost in my mind, but now I also think more intentionally about how to also shine a light on love. That’s what will ultimately touch people’s hearts and make a difference in their lives.

Funeral Celebrant Marcia Thomson – for Modern Celebrant

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